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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

198                               LIFE   OF
the world was extended by travel, and the sense of
beauty was developed by the investigation of bota-
nical forms. At the present time single individual
forms of exotic plants, single fruits., branches., or buds
(by Johann Breughel), the individual characteristic of
the torrid zone (by Franz Post, of Haarlem, and
Eckhout, who accompanied Prince Maurice of Nassau
to the Brazils), are made the subject of pictures;
landscape painters have also commenced to represent
the simpler forms of our indigenous flora, with a fer-
tile and creative phantasy and a depth of feeling,
which nevertheless reflects the whole of nature,
because on every spot of the earth nature repeats
herself.
We have only briefly sketched Hurnboldt's views
on landscape-painting; he demands natural physi-
ognomy in a landscape ; the picture is to express the
dark feeling of a local natural character ; and to con-
ceive and adequately represent this feeling, Humboldt
considers as the task of a landscape painter.
But still he describes this impression of a picture
as less exciting and narrower than the -direct sensual
perception of exotic plants in hothouses or parks, and
distinguishes the artistic impression from the con-
templative botanical interest; and although planta-
tions and gardens have not the varied means of
Imkdscape-painting—such as light and colouring, the
eoimaoarid over form aaid quantity, the mysterious
unbounded distance of perspective—that is quite
compensated by the impression which REALrrr always.
exercises over the senses* Humboldt is very partial
to such living garden-landscapes, and wishes to see his-
descriptive botanical physiognomy applied as a means
in the art of landscape-gardening.
We must now follow the great man, whose portrait*
we are endeavouring to draw, on another intellectual
field> which he has made abundantly fruitful; this is
&e history of the physical contemplation of the
world, the knowledge of the gradual development,